Lecturer Peter Richardson on subculture, community of The Grateful Dead

Wednesday, July 01, 2015
LOS ANGELES TIMES -- What, though, if “Fare Thee Well” were bigger than nostalgia? What if something else were going on? In a recent blog post, Peter Richardson makes such an argument. “[T]heir concerts,” he explains, “expanded the social space for the experience of total rapture; their tours furnished fans with the opportunity for adventure; and those fans could experience that ecstasy and adventure in a large, vibrant, and cohesive community. … Now, two decades after the band dissolved, that community will have a few more chances to commune.” Richardson teaches at San Francisco State and is the author of “No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead,” which offers an insightful look at the subculture that surrounds the band. This notion of community — a gathering of the tribes — resides at its center, offering a context, a frame of reference, as it were.